Showing posts with label retro. Show all posts
Showing posts with label retro. Show all posts

Monday, June 06, 2016

Mrs Egeland Confesses: I'd Make A Lousy Fifties Housewife

Yes, readers it's true. I've come to accepted that I would have made an absolute pigs-ear of being a good housewife in the 1950's.

As much as I would love to live the lifestyle others have so bravely and dedicatedly taken on, living to as far as possible to the standards and social norms of that era I do not. As much as I admire the ways of life, the traditional stay at home wife role, the domestic goddess who always looked her best and kept her husband happy, in an age of patience and good manners, in a simpler time, I have come to accept that had I been born, had my personality been as it is today, I would have made a horrible housewife.

I am at heart an artist, a creative who will quite happily sit and paint rather than wash the floor. I can easily get zoned- out whilst writing or drawing and completely ignore the war zone of dirty dishes in the sink and the hoovering left undone.

A Woman Of My Era

I like my home to be tidy and clean, as do we all, but so long as there are plates to eat off and clothes to wear I can and will leave the chores until later to do something more enjoyable, more creative. I have more self-will than self-control and as much as I dream of the day when I will be able to stay on top of my laundry, ironing, cleaning schedule in a zen-like state, with perfectly coiffured hair, and manicured nails I know that in reality, that day, is far off and quite possibly will never arrive.

I am, it has to be said, a woman of my era. I work part-time, I find entertainment online and via my iPhone, I like using my free time to pamper myself and indulge in my passions. I am not as organized as I could be, not always on top of my chores, I expect my husband to do half of them, I don't bake as much as I'd like, although I cook daily, and as much as my little heart yearns for the pastimes of past times I find my knitting is always half done and my sewing is always waiting to be finished. Even this blog has, as you will have noticed, fallen by the wayside.

Without the modern conveniences of a dishwasher, a tumble dryer and a washing machine would I have to spend more time washing dishes and doing my laundry? No doubt I would, and that would require my spending more of my free time doing those things, but I doubt that it would make me more organized. Because at my core I am a creative, go-with-the-flow, spontaneous sprite who revels in writing fantasy novels and painting pictures of Vespas whilst listening to big band music and RPG soundtracks.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Designing Decor: Project Balcony Part 1.

Its summer! Its the 2nd of June and so far we’ve had glorious sunshine, most of May. On Saturday, I was unwell, very unwell and I ended up wasting away on my sofa looking out of the glass door, too exhausted to actually sit out there in the sunshine. After looking out at the balcony for two days, Sunday didn’t bring me much comfort either, I was inspired. IMG_0090

This is my view, admittedly at sunset, but you see what I mean, we’re really close to the water. Yet our balcony doesn’t really reflect that. It’s a bit scruffy! We have some nice pieces, a lovely black wooden lounge chair for example, but it really isn’t a cohesively styled area.

Retro-Style Me!

As you know, if you’ve been paying attention, I love retro. I love to dress in clothes in the style of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. I like to think I have an hour glass figure. I love my home to have the luxury of the colonial and art deco periods, so its really ridiculous that I haven’t taken the balcony on before.

As you might have guessed I want to go for a nautical theme. Now when I personally think of the nautical theme I immediately think of the twenties, of cruise ships and Agatha Christie. I know its a bit of a leap, but bear with me.

First Class Travel

The glamour and luxury of the twenties went hand in hand with international travel. Thomas Cook had introduced the package holiday in 1841, but it wasn’t until the 1920’s that the masses could afford to travel. Transportation was becoming more readily available, and the rail companies of Britain sent out a massive campaign to keep people using the railway instead of busses. Slogans like “See Britain by Rail” and “It’s Quicker by Rail” advertised the multiple avenues of holiday travel by train. The ocean liners were considered symbols of modern technology, and a tan was a status symbol. Winter cruises to warmer climes became really popular.

Art Deco Travellers

All of this was happening in the Art Deco period which had really been introduced to the world via the Parisian 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts). Today we associate the 1920’s with Art Deco and vice versa, just look at the aesthetic portrayed in the film “The Great Gatsby”, even the poster is heavily Art Deco in style.

So influential was it the Art Deco that it was even used by the French Line to advertise its most famous ocean liner, the Normandie which was launched in 1932, seven years after the World Fair in Paris. The poster has become iconic, and readily recognisable.

I have a copy of this as a postcard. I will frame it and hang it outside. If you want to see some of the ideas I’ve started to collect for this project, click on the link to my Pinterest page and check it out.

This all has to be done on a budget, so I will be posting some tutorials as I try and re-create some of the things I liked on Pinterest.

I hope you will subscribe, so that you don’t miss out on the journey of this project. Comments are welcome below.

Until next time.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Splendid Sewing: A Hobby Basket

Dear Readers,

I recently commercialised my blog by adding a few more adverts. You have probably noticed, or maybe not, and you’ve only noticed the posts. Well, I hope I have your continued support in spite of the advertising. However, please feel free to comment on it below. Back to today’s subject.

Splendid Sewing

In my life, I am well known among my friends and family as a competent seamstress. So when someone needs something made, fixed or altered they look over at me with puppy dog eyes and ask me to do it. I find it hugely flattering that they ask me, occasionally I over extend myself and take on too many “projects” leaving me exhausted and stressed trying to finish them all, but thankfully, my friends are gracious and patient. Of late, I have tried to rein myself in and stop taking on so much , that’s why what I am bringing to you now, was just a pleasure to make.

The Brief

My friend is an avid crocheter, she gives presents to  all our friends who are expectant mothers of booties, baby blankets and little dresses all made with her crocheting. She is now, happily, expecting her second and asked me to make her a bag for her wool and crochet hooks. This was the brief, the bag had to be:

  • Retro in style. She, like myself is a lover of the 40’s and 50’s.
  • Big! As I said she’s an avid crocheter and she has a lot of wool.
  • Packable. There are plans for my dear friend to move in the near future, so it was important that the bag could be flattened down and easily packed.

The Design

With all that in mind, I started to design and plan. It had to be retro! The picture that came to mind was of a vintage purse, rather like the photograph.

A rounded top then. The great thing about the 50’s was that the designs of that period were desperately trying to forget the austerity of the war years. Everything was sleek and colourful. New, modern, innovative, colourful, bright and cheerful items were what people wanted, everyone looked forward with optimism to the future. When you are trying to recreate that look, with those things in mind, you have a free hand with colour.


Which is why I eventually choose these two fabrics. A PVC red fabric with stripes and this jolly patterned fabric with florals, and gingham.

Time To Cut To The Chase

I was a bit haphazard about the size, I knew she wanted big so I traced around my biggest handbag to get the size of the side panels. IMG_0924 That’s how I got these!

I decided to line the inside of this basket with the second fabric, so after cutting out the bottom panels…IMG_0925 Like this.

I traced around the side panels on to the second fabric, like this…IMG_0927 twice, of course!

Then I cut four side panels from the second fabric. Two panels per side, since I was lining the inside of the bag with the second fabric, but I also wanted the side panels on the outside to contrast with the red striped first fabric.

And So To Sew

Constructing this bag with its lining was a challenge. It took me quite a while to figure out how exactly I was going to put it together so that it would look how I wanted it to. So I started by:

  • Stitching the two large red side panels to one of the red base panels.
  • Then I stitched the inner large floral side panels to the red large panels. IMG_1041
  • After that I stitched the second red base panel to the floral side panels to make a sort of misshapen tube thing.
  • Next I stitched two of the smaller floral side panels together. Leaving the other two to one side.
  • Then I stitched that panel to one side of the large red panels and the base too. I also stitched it to the two large floral panels and the second red base. IMG_1042IMG_1043
  • Next I stitched the one of the other smaller floral side panels to the other sides red large panel and base.
  • After that I stitched the other smaller floral side panel to the large floral side panel and the second red base. So that it was like a large misshapen deflated ball of some description.
  • Then I turned it all the right way round and pushed the floral half inside the red striped half to make a bag. IMG_1044IMG_1045
  • I made a pocket in the open side panels.
  • I stitched an edge around the top the bag and I was done! IMG_1047IMG_1048







I haven’t shown my creation to my friend yet, so I’m hoping she likes it. I’m quite happy with it, and I think it fulfils the brief she gave me.

I hope this tutorial has given you ideas for your own hobby baskets. I’m sure you will make much better versions of it than I have. Please subscribe and comment below.

Until next time,


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Modern obsessions

It's true, we are in general, a society obsessed with what has already passed. We live descrying our present and yearning for the culture, manners and dress of the past. Designers copy styles of the past, and we call it 'retro', we love the romance of everything post WW1. Art Deco, Art nouveau, anything in fact but futuristic! Not technology of course, when it comes to our technology we want the latest and greatest, the smaller the better. Ipods, Laptops, palm tops, mobile phones, you name it we want it small.

So why do we cry for retro? Why do we wish for styles of the past? Is it because our future isn't as rosy as one we liked to imagine. Once, mostly during the 60's and 70's we longed for space exploration, for futuristic images and life styles, because probably naively we thought as the future in a positive light. Hunger would be vanquished, peace would reign and knowledge abound. Lives would be lived in space, on far away planets and in space stations and by 2006 we'd all live in peace. Then came the 80's and we realised that those were just pipe dreams. Recension eclipsed the happy ideas of our future and we were suddenly acquainted with our own humble mortality, our planets sickness and the possibility that sooner or later we'd all die of pollution. So now we live afraid of our own planet, trying desperately to cure the already far reaching environmental crisis and straining for hope with dreams of past days.

Not to mention that those wonderful days of the past were filled with decent law abiding people, the crime rate was lower, marriages stayed strong and children respected their elders. In fact everything was much less contaminated, nations were filled with cheerful, positive people who weren't cynical and sarcastic. Innocence reigned amongst the majority, life seemed sweeter and everything was new. Life was filled with discovery, everything was an adventure. The planet was big and everything was mysterious.

Are these the reasons why we long for the days of our ancestors? Maybe the reasons are too varied to truly understand them all, and we should just accept the modern obsession for the past.